Slow is smooth is fast.

US Marines and ROK SEALS fastrope into an urban terrain facility from a MH-60S Seahawk from Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) Squadron 4 during a special operations forces (SOF) integration as part of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014. The SOF integration used the combat skills and capabilities of U.S. Marine Special Operations Team 8133, ROK SEALS and Peru Special Forces to take down and capture a high value target.

(Photos by Corporal Matthew Bragg, 10 JUL 2014.)

North Korea remains a favorite threat for the Pentagon. After the Cold War ended, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army General Colin Powell admitted: “I’m running out of demons. I’m running out of villains. I’m down to Castro and Kim Il Sung.” Two decades later, North Korea remains a favorite demon for Army Generals. We are told the newest North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, is as crazy and unpredictable as his forefathers. Our corporate media demonizes him in every report, but they do not tell you that he loves American basketball and speaks English. He attended a first-class private school in Switzerland for several years, and has a college degree in physics. Despite traditional saber rattling talk, he is worldly enough to know that North Korea would quickly lose a war.

As American forces leave Afghanistan, Army Generals want to justify their wartime budget by exaggerating the North Korean threat, ignoring that South Korea has twice the population, 50 times the economic power, and a modern military that is roughly five times stronger than the decrepit North Korean Army. In addition, South Korea has fortified and mined its mountainous border region along the DMZ so no vehicles can pass.

A North Korean offensive across the DMZ would result in a World War I style slaughter of North Korean infantry within a few miles of the border. The mobilized South Korean army is five times larger than the mob of uniformed rice farmers just north of the DMZ. South Korea would easily win any war with the North, which teeters on economic collapse during peacetime.

Not a single American soldier is needed to defend South Korea. The 28,500 remaining American combat troops are just a symbolic commitment to South Korean security, and a diplomatic tool that deters South Korea from developing its own nuclear weaponry, which would upset China and Japan. The U.S. Army has yet to adjust to this reality. For example, it spends a billion dollars a year to maintain four American bases in southern South Korea - known as the Daegu complex. These logistics bases exist to support outdated plans to accommodate thousands of American troops arriving to help defend South Korea in wartime. No GIs are required to help the larger and vastly superior South Korean Army defend its nation from its poor northern cousins, and no one believes China would foolishly start a world war by attacking its major trading partner, South Korea.


Most South Koreans do not view Americans as saviors from communism. They have no memory of the Korean war and want peace. A key step is the closure of American bases because North Korea has long maintained that the withdrawal of all foreign forces from the Korean peninsula is a prerequisite for peace. There are no Chinese or Russian forces in North Korea, even though South Korea is far stronger. South Korea political leaders deal with a growing number of nationalists and pacifists who want the American military to leave, and traditional supporters of a long standing alliance. Many South Koreans support American bases only because they benefit from the billions of dollars in annual American military spending, which generates tens of thousands of jobs.
—  Carlton Meyer, Withdraw from DMZ Bases

Why is North Korea worried about Washington?  Because the U.S. military remains deployed in the South 61 years after the end of the Korean War.  Washington has turned the otherwise successful Republic of Korea into an international welfare queen, apparently forever stuck on the U.S. defense dole.

It’s time for the ROK to graduate and America to leave the Koreans solve their own problems.


Some South Koreans claim that the ROK military isn’t ready—which raises questions about what the South’s armed forces has been doing over the last six decades when not suppressing democracy.  Indeed, how has far less technologically sophisticated North Korea managed its military all these years?  Other officials in both the South and America worry that turning OPCON of South Korea’s military over to South Korea’s military would encourage the withdrawal of U.S. forces.  That is, some in Seoul are committed to remaining helpless and hopeless in order to keep Americans at risk to ensure ROK security.

But why should Washington defend the South in 2014, 61 years after the Korean War ended?

The ROK is well able to construct whatever military forces are necessary for its own protection.  The idea that Seoul cannot match a bankrupt, starving, and isolated nation with a fraction of South Korea’s resources is nonsense.  There is no special geographical feature that keeps the nation to the south inferior militarily.  The problem is political decisions in the South.


South Korea has achieved much, overcoming colonialism, war, and dictatorship to create a country at the front rank internationally.  But that only sets Seoul’s military dependence in starker relief.  A serious nation in every other regard, the ROK is an international welfare queen when it comes to defense, abusing the generosity of the American people.  Like parents stuck with an adult child who doesn’t want to leave home, Washington must take the initiative and kick its overage dependent out on his own.

OPCON should shift, America’s troops should return home, and the U.S. security guarantee should end.  South Korea could then take its place among the world’s nations as truly independent, freed of its embarrassing reliance on Washington for defense, perhaps the most basic attribute of nationhood.